VISET Update – 23 April 2020

VISET received disturbing reports from informal traders in Beitbridge, that there are known ZRP officers who are travelling in a white car brutalizing informal traders and demanding bribes of around ZAR600 per person. One of the victims said in some instances ZRP officers search people’s pockets and if one has no money they force him / her to chew raw chillies or risk being taken to charge office. It was also reported that there are some people who are suspected to be impersonating ZRP officers in Beitbridge who are moving around in a black Toyota vehicle demanding basic commodities like rice and sugar from vendors selling / operating from their homes. Another disturbing case in Beitbridge involves people who had come to do their grocery shopping from rural areas and were forced to pay a bribe of ZAR400 each by ZRP officers despite having travel authorization letters from their Councilor.

In Harare, at Mbudzi Roundabout, a fruit and vegetable market was opened by a private service provider. The market operates on a daily basis from 5am to 3pm and it is strategically positioned to serve vendors from Harare South suburbs like Hopley, Southlea Park Ushewekunze, Glen-Norah, Stoneridge and some parts of Waterfalls. While this is a positive initiative, there are notable grey areas which need to be improved at the marketplace for example there are no hand washing points or use of sanitizers to keep high levels of hygiene and prevent the spread of COVID-19. Social distancing practices are also lacking and there is need to encourage vendors operating at the site to use such preventive measures to prevent further spread of COVID-19. Lastly, it is also alleged that allocation of vending space is done on partisan lines and this process becomes exclusive to other informal sector traders.

Source: Vendors Initiative for Social and Economic Transformation (VISET)

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